Celtics Make David Lee Available For Trade

The Celtics are making David Lee available to teams that would like to trade for him, league sources tell TNT’s David Aldridge, who writes in his Morning Tip for NBA.com. That’s no grand surprise, especially since Lee’s average of 15.6 minutes per night this season is lower than the 18.4 minutes per game he saw with the Warriors last year, when he fell out of the rotation. Lee, on an expiring contract, is Boston’s highest-paid player, with a salary of nearly $15.494MM.

The two-time All-Star arrived in Boston with much fanfare over the summer, even though at the age of 32, he’s not the superstar acquisition the Celtics have long been hunting for. Lee’s representatives reportedly worked in conjunction with the Warriors to help him find a new team, and the big man recently said that he doesn’t have regrets about leaving Golden State, even amid an historic start to the season for the Warriors.

Lee averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in 33.2 minutes per game for the Warriors in 2013/14, but like last season, he finds himself playing behind other talented frontcourt players this year. Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk are all seeing more minutes per game than Lee is, and Tyler Zeller, last season’s starting center for the Celtics, is getting only 7.8 minutes per contest.

The sizable salary Lee has figures to be an obstacle to a trade, especially since expiring contracts aren’t as valuable as they used to be. Most teams are currently over the cap, so they would have to come up with salary of at least $10,493,680 to trade for Lee straight up. No team has a trade exception large enough for him — not even the Cavs, who have the league’s largest trade exception, worth more than $10.5MM.

Do you think there’s a team that would be a fit for Lee? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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15 thoughts on “Celtics Make David Lee Available For Trade

    • Chuck Myron

      Blazers could absorb him via cap space and not have to give the Celtics any salary, if the C’s would go for that. So that’s an idea.

    • When Danny says he wants a scorer I think he means a young guy such as Isaiah. Which would rule Crawford who is in his 30s out.

  1. steve

    It all depends. You’d think it would be a team hoping to make a push for the playoffs while solidifying their bench with a veteran player. Playoff caliber teams likely wont have the cap space to simply absorb him. So now the question is what does Ainge want? He likely doesn’t want to acquire players under contract past this season, he likely would want to acquire some form of a future asset or a player that will help the current team. That means he’ll be looking, contract wise, for players on an expiring deal who have a matching salary and are less productive as Lee, thus meaning the team would attach a future pick to make it worth their while (doubt Ainge makes a deal for the sake of making a deal). Or a team that could offer player(s) of similar productivity who are on expiring deals which fill an area of need (likely outside shooting from the wing position). Obviously off the top of my head I cant think of a team that matches those specific needs, but if I were to say the C’s are looking for the former (future assets) then maybe a team like the raptors who need a 4 and can offer future pics (doubt Ainge does a trade with them however), or more likely Ainge does a deal with Kings for Caron Butler or Omri Casspri with other players to make salaries match.

    • Lee could go to a contender, pay the salary and ask for a first rounder, something he probably couldn’t get if he did not take on the money.

  2. Vol4ever

    Hawks. Boston will have to pay most of that contract to move him. He would fit really well into Atlanta’s offense and would provide much needed rebounding off the bench.

    • And what would the Celtics get back in return in your scenerio? You have stated that the Celtics woulf have to take on the contract so clearly not salary cap relief. Trades work both ways. If not salary relief then what? Gotta be something good if you expect the Celtics to take on the money

  3. Marko

    The Grizzlies recognize it’s time to make a change in their style; and Z-Bo ($9.6 mm / $10.4 mm next year) is the anchor they’ve gotta cast loose! Lee could space the floor with the big guy, would be another passer, and definitely be good for Conley; and surely would help Dave Joerger get the possessions number up. The C’s might also need to take & move somebody like Brandan Wright or Vince Carter, but Randolph would be the attraction – giving Stevens a genuine tough-guy and Sullinger/Johnson some guidance.

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